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December, 2018

AFLW: Collingwood v Carltonyour photos

HERstory in the making: Lockout crowd at Game 1 of Women’s AFL @lola_clare: Let’s go ladies! 🏉👱🏻‍♀️ #aflw #womensfooty #herstory
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@sarahonga: Foot is back 🏉🏉 not a bad way to spend a Friday #AFLW

@usconsulatemelb: We found a @richmond_fc supporter at the #aflwbluespies

@danaebosler Heading into history #aflw #collingwood


@the3winesmen: The people have spoken. Woman’s AFL is here to stay, and it’s about time.

@em_sibs: Withnessing history tonight with old rivals #aflw #bluesvspies

@sammyadams85: Witnessin’ history #AFLW #daisypearce

@joseph苏州夜场招聘nnellan: So it begins #afl #wafl

@hlancman: First game in HERSTORY #afl #wafl

@aliston12: First women’s AFL Game!!! 🤗

@silkwoodau: What an awesome turn up! #wafl @afl @carlton_fc

@jayne.darcy: 30 mins till kick off and it’s packed in the stands at Princes Park!

@joseph苏州夜场招聘nnellan: Waiting for history. Womens AFL Ikon Park Stadium in Princess Park, Carlton

@celestepotter: I have never had the slightest desire to attend an AFL match, but here we are- excited to be on our way to witness an historic moment.

@the_sam_e: #wafl

@blueovaljoe C’mon da woods! #cfc #aflw #wafl #magpies #collingwood Go pies!

@veritycampbellcomms: Women’s AFL starts tonight. What an historic moment.

@hannahgraces: Its happening! WAFL first game, history made 3/2/17!

@rbchikan: Cheer squad!! 💙💙🏉 #wafl #gonat #32 #carlton

@elana_monteleone: It’s good to be home. Let’s go Blues! #wafl

@madbart66: Blues V Pies. Wouldn’t matter if it was tiddlywinks #bluesvpies

@elana_monteleone: Waiting for history to be made. #gamechangers

@marksmithbriggs: History beckons #aflw #gopies

@__rounders__: Super excited for #aflw #gopies #aflwbluespies

@latchky: Go blues #carltonfc #aflw

@seanjokane: Here for the inaugural game! Get up Blues! @aflwomens #AFLW

@jane_izzy_design:s Go blues! So excited to watch history in the making!

@francesob: Go blues #footytime #AFLW #carltonfc

@phoeboob: “You play like girls. Really well.” #AFLW #gothepies

@kimberleyandco: AFL WOMENS #afl #aflw


@dazzheadspace: At Princess Park with 3 generations of Pies Diehards @collingwood_fc

@sarsyj: #numberonefans #gohutchy #gopies

@madirobinson_: What an incredible moment in sports history to be apart of. Come on @collingwood_fc #AFLW

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Newcastle council begins detailed investigations and deep soil testing at homes above the old gasworks site in Waratah

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Crews drilled at properties in Waratah on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil
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A “detailed” investigationhas begun that will see around 200 samples taken from land believed to have been tainted with toxic chemicals from a former gasworks at Waratah.

An earlyround of testing saw shallow soil sampled from backyards but the second round will see deeper soil examined, along with vapour and groundwater.

The investigations are targeting an area bounded by High Street, Turton Road and Georgetown Road and a council spokesperson said they would provide “a better understanding of the nature and extent of gasworks-related substances, and what mitigation measures, if any, may be needed.”

“The samples will be tested for a wide range of substances associated with gasworks,” he said. “Additional shallow soil sampling will also be undertaken on public land within 500 metresof the gasworks’ footprint.”

People within the investigation area are being told not to eat vegetables or eggs from their properties, avoid having areas of uncovered soil, to minimise exposure to soil during gardening and to raise any sand pits or garden beds above the ground level.

A resident who did not wish to be named said she felt the jury was out until she received the results from the second round of testing.

Initial tests had already shown high levels of at least four toxic chemicals at her property, including lead.

“It’s good that they’ve got the ball rolling because this is all about our children’sfuture at the end of the day. I’ve got a son who was born here and some familieshave been on this street for generations.

“I’m just hoping and praying that it all works out.”


Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

DOWN AND OUT: Newcastle midfielder Ben Kantarovski receives treatment after injuring his knee against Sydney in December. Picture: Marina NeilHE has played more games for the Newcastle Jets than any other player, but injury-plagued Ben Kantarovski faces an uncertain future as he battles to regain a spot in the team.
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Kantarovski has not played since the round-nine loss to Sydney on December 4, which was his 135thappearance for Newcastle, overtaking former teammate Tarek Elrich’s club record.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery days later to repair torn cartilage in his problematic right knee, which has now required four operations, including a full reconstruction in 2010 when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

Kantarovski has since resumed training, although the club’s website says he will not be available for another week.

But at a frank press conference on Thursday, Jets coach Mark Jones indicatedthe 25-year-old midfielder was no longer a selection priority.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know why Kanta keeps getting brought up,’’ Jones said.

“Kanta is just another one of the squad members.

“He’s played limited game time this year and he’s not a vital link in us playing well or not playing well …that’s the trouble, if you sit out for a long period of time through injuries, you start to drop down the pecking order.’’

Olyroos representative Steven Ugarkovic and experienced Mateo Poljak are seemingly established as Newcastle’s holding midfielders, having each featured in 16 of Newcastle’s 17 games this season.

With Ugarkovic out suspended for Saturday’s clash with Perth, rookie Johnny Koutroumbis gets a chance in his preferred position.

“Johnny Koutrombis has done a magnificent job and I think he’s earned the right to be the next cab off the rank,’’ Jonessaid.

“I’m very keen to see what Johnny does.’’

Koutroumbis and Ugarkovic have both signed two-seasoncontract extensions, while Kantarovski is one of several Newcastle players who are effectively free agents and open to offers.

The dilemma facing Kantarovski is how to state a case for reinstatement, given that he mighthave limited opportunity to gain match fitness in the 10 remaining regular-seasonfixtures before the play-offs.

Players returning from injury often get to stretch their legs in Newcastle’s youth team, but the youth league season is over. Adding to his quandary, each week on the sidelines is unlikely to enhance his bargaining position for a new deal.

A former Young Socceroos skipper who debuted in the A-League at 16, Kantarovski would appear to have reached something of a career crossroads.

His future may well hinge on how successfully the surgeons have been able to patch up his knee, a recurring issue that has sadlyprevented him from reaching the heights many were predicting during his formative years.

His latest setback leaves both the Jets and Kantarovski pondering a tough decision.

Can he become a long-term asset for his home-town club, and possibly a future captain?

Or is it time for a fresh start, in the hope that new surroundsallowhim to realise his potential?

Either way, Sporting Declaration hopes Ben Kantarovski’s best football is still ahead of him.

He’s had a wretched run. That, unfortunately, is part of the game, but nobody would appear more entitled to a change ofluck.

RISKY BUSINESSTHEY are great for fans and the broadcasters, but the annual Auckland Nines and All Stars exhibitions are a recipe for disaster.

Over the next two weekends, the NRL’s most highly paidsuperstars will go hammer and tong in two events that count for nothing on grand final day.

And if anyone gets injured, their clubs are handicapped before a ball has been kicked in the season proper. It’s madness.

Injuries, of course, can happen at any time.

But players, coaches and supporters can probably accept such setbacks as par for the course if two competition points are at stake.

FOOD FOR THOUGHTIT couldn’t happen, could it?

No matter how badly the Knights are travelling, no matter how many wooden spoons they collect or how long they remain without an owner, the NRL needs a team in Newcastle and would never abandon this rugby league stronghold.

Or would they?

News from America might make you think twice. After 56 years in San Diego, the Chargers’ NFL franchise is moving to Los Angeles, basically because the owner has found a bigger stadium. Food for thought as “Our Knights One Chance” organisers rally support for a community-ownership model.


Politicians, diplomats scramble to repair US-Chinan alliance after Trump tweets

US President Donald Trump says people should not be worried about his ‘tough phone calls’.n and American officials spent Friday scrambling to shore up the US refugee swap deal – and repair the damage to the alliance – amid signs that President Donald Trump could follow through on the agreement with Malcolm Turnbull.
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Two of ‘s most respected foreign policy thinkers have warned the US- relationship faced a difficult future.

On Friday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said both n and US officials were on Nauru looking at individual cases but that there was a “long way to go” before any refugees left.

The comments followed a Reuters news agency report that US officials had postponed interviews with asylum seekers on Nauru.

Despite lingering uncertainty over whether America will honour the refugee resettlement deal, Mr Dutton said US officials had returned to Nauru as planned.

He said getting refugees out of detention in Nauru was “a difficult juggling act”.

“We are keen to get people off there as quickly as possible … we’ve got unfinished business,” he told 2GB radio. “There’s a long way to go before we can get people off.”

However he said he remained confident the US would honour the deal, which would see America take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru in return for accepting refugees from Central America.

“I take the president at his word. He has given a commitment to our prime minister,” Mr Dutton said.

The developments underscore the uncertainty and magnitude of the task confronting the Turnbull government as it seeks to hold the deal together.

‘s ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, met with Mr Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus and key advisor Steve Bannon in the White House to discuss the fall-out from the leaked details of the fiery weekend conversation between the two leaders.

Senior members of the Republican Party, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Speaker Paul Ryan and a host of Democrats rushed to emphasise the importance of the -US relationship.

Senator McCain, who spoke to Mr Hockey, said the President’s treatment of was “an unnecessary and frankly harmful open dispute over an issue which is not nearly as important as United States-n co-operation and working together.”

Mr Ryan said: “I don’t think should be worried about its relationship with our new President or with our country for that matter”.

At a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Mr Trump said people should not be worried about the “tough phone calls” he had had with world leaders like Mr Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Taking to Twitter on Friday night, he then switched to calling the conversation “very civil”.

“Thank you to Prime Minister of for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about,” Mr Trump said. “Very nice!”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – who repeatedly mispronounced the Prime Minister’s name as “Trunbull” – said the President was “unbelievably disappointed” in the refugee deal.

“He has tremendous respect for the Prime Minister and the n people, and has agreed to continue to review that deal and to ensure that, as part of the deal, which was always part of it, we would go through a very, very extreme vetting process.”

Mr Turnbull said his concern had been to see the deal honoured and that “it’s obviously a deal he [Mr Trump] wouldn’t have done. He’s expressed his views about it. But he has committed to doing it”.

“If people in America want to leak or make claims about what was in a conversation, that’s disappointing. But I’m not going to do that.”

Former Department of Foreign Affairs chief Peter Varghese told Fairfax Media that key pillars of shared interest between the US and  “now look quite different under Trump”.

“I think we have to manage it and ride it out to some extent … We might find ourselves in a bit like a loveless marriage in which we have to make it work for the sake of the kids but our expectations of each other are going to be quite low.”

Andrew Shearer, a former foreign policy adviser to Tony Abbott, who works in Washington at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the leaked conversation between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull had been a “very difficult episode in the relationship” but suggested the deal would probably go ahead.

“This deal is consistent with a pattern of informal arrangements among major recipients of refugees like the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Britain,” he said.

“We shouldn’t go looking for something on terrorism or the South China Sea to package up and deliver in return for the US agreeing to this deal. We should make decisions on military commitments and the deployment of warships based on our own assessments. Those have to be rock-solid.”

n officials pointed out the up-to 1250 people on Manus Island and Nauru would be part of the United States’ overall intake of 50,000 people, which has been cut from 110,000.

Mr Trump’s first weeks in office – even before the phone call fracas erupted – have sent shockwaves through the Canberra bureaucracy, with diplomats scrambling to deal with the challenge.

Comprehensive assessments are afoot – including in the departments of Foreign Affairs and Defence, and intelligence agencies – to examine the long-term strategic consequences of Mr Trump’s policies for the alliance.

Fairfax Media has been told by multiple senior sources that there was no quid pro quo for the refugee swap in the national security sphere, despite suggestions to the contrary.

The government has agreed to take an unspecified number of refugees from Costa Rica who have fled violence in other parts of Central America, but always maintained this is not a people swap with Nauru and Manus Island.

Also late on Friday, a junior adviser to Mr Turnbull was suspended over an “inappropriate” three-month-old Facebook post about Donald Trump.

with Tom McIlroy, Jo Tovey, Michael Koziol

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Newcastle Supercar race could see trees removedpoll

NEWCASTLE council may remove trees from the inner city to make way for November’s Supercar race, but insist they will be replaced.
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The Newcastle Heraldunderstands the council is looking at the removal of trees along Wharf Road opposite Foreshore Park to make way for the race, and on Friday aspokesman confirmed it was investigating “the effects of the final track alignment on local flora and fauna” on the city.

However, if trees are removed, the council wouldreplacethem to“ensure no overall loss to the canopy coverage”.

“We do recognise that there will be disruptions to our local residents especially those in close proximity to the track, however as we have said since the event was announced [council] will work closely with the event organisers to minimise disruption throughout the event,” he said.

The spokesman also insisted no decision had been made on which roads would be closed during the event.

“The beaches will be accessible as usual before, during and after the event period for members of the public, carers and other essential service providers such as emergency services,” the spokesman said.

TheHeraldalso asked the council on Friday whether it was considering filling in the frog pond in Foreshore Park, but a spokesman did not respond to the question.

However if the pond does go, it may not be because of the race. The council’s Foreshore plan of management from 2015 states the council would look at whether to“retain, reduce or remove” the pond.

The race –first announced in September last year –has proven increasingly divisive because of its location in Newcastle’s historic East End, with some residents fearing a loss of amenity.


SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos responds to Ben Ryan’s Fiji Super Rugby team bid

Former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan wants to develop a Super Rugby team in Fiji. Photo: Louie DouvisSuper Rugby administrators have poured cold water on a proposal to give embattled Pacific Island nation Fiji a team in the southern hemisphere competition.
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Former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan is spearheading a private bid to build a 20,000-seat stadium in the Fijian resort precinct of Denarau, and has also backed a proposal to move the struggling Wellington Sevens to Fiji should the New Zealand Rugby Union decide to relinquish their hosting rights.

Ryan has chosen to side step the Fiji Rugby Union on both issues, questioning their governance and financial credentials and capacity to make either proposal a success.

But it appears he has also side stepped the Super Rugby gatekeepers, who are close to finalising a strategic review and responded to his comments to Fairfax Media with a terse statement.

“SANZAAR has noted with interest the ‘campaign’ led by former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan to develop a Super Rugby team in Fiji. However, SANZAAR would like to state categorically that there has been no direct approach whatsoever from Ben Ryan, or anyone else, on his proposal,” a statement, released on Friday, said.

SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos called the proposal “strange” and invited Ryan to approach him about the idea.

“It seems strange that there is a campaign being led by Ben Ryan, mainly in the press, that could impact directly on Super Rugby and yet SANZAAR the tournament owner is completely in the dark about the proposal,” Marinos said.

“SANZAAR would welcome a conversation and is very open to talking with Ben or any of his associates on his proposed plan should he choose to engage with us.”

Ryan conceded the proposal, first floated back in November, had run into delays over a stadium site. But he insisted there was still momentum – and money – in their favour.

“It would be incredibly successful if done right and a great marketing strategy for Super Rugby. This could be a team with a lot of flair, within three or four hours’ flight of about 10 of the Super Rugby teams, so it’s a good fit for everyone,” he said.

Ryan was less bullish about talk of moving the ailing Wellington Sevens to the island nation. Average crowds of 10,000 across each day have prompted the New Zealand Rugby Union to declare the future of the once-iconic tournament in the capital well and truly up in the air.

The NZRU still have two years left in their contract to host the tournament and moving it to Auckland or Dunedin, a thriving university town, are still options. Fiji host the successful Coral Coast Sevens but would still be an out-of-the-box choice, no more so than because global world series sponsor HSBC has traditionally targeted key commercial markets.

Ryan said it would be “tough but not impossible” to get the idea across the line.

“Everyone is in agreement that Wellington is dead, it’s gone,” he said. “If Fiji fans hadn’t been there [last] weekend I don’t think anyone would have been there. It’s the worst tournament now in the series and it was the best when I started.

“It needs to move and I think the bold thing would not be repackaging it in New Zealand but allowing it to go to the islands. That would be completely down to the NZRU. They’ll decide whether it’s worth keeping or not.”


American arrested in Sydney allegedly part of multi-million dollar cocaine run

Police during the raids in Punchbowl in June, 2016. Photo: Daniel Munoz The packages were sent from Southern California to Sydney. Photo: NSW Police
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Police allege parcels of cocaine were concealed in machinery sent from the United States. Photo: NSW Police

The cocaine was allegedly concealed within parcels carrying machinery. Photo: NSW Police

An American man allegedly involved in an international cocaine syndicate is the latest to be arrested in an investigation that has also netted the brother of a slain crime figure and an aspiring politician.

Alfred Manukyan, 47, had only been in for a few days before he was picked up by NSW Organised Crime Squad detectives on Thursday.

Police allege he was one of multiple people involved in a cocaine importation racket which saw drugs sourced from Southern California and sent via air freight and mail to .

The cocaine was allegedly concealed within parcels carrying machinery.

It will be alleged Manukyan, who was arrested at Mascot on his way to the airport, was a United States-based contact for the drug syndicate.

His arrest came after the brother of slain standover man Wally Ahmad was charged for his alleged role in the cocaine importation.

Youssef Ahmad was arrested during a police raid on his Punchbowl home last June, just over a month after his older brother was shot dead at Bankstown Central shopping complex.

Another man was also arrested in a separate raid on the same street.

Mr Ahmad, who was charged with drug importation, is due to face court again on February 22.

To date 29 people have been arrested as part of the Strike Force Nicolena investigation, which has seized $45 million worth of drugs, mostly cocaine, and $1.2 million in cash.

n Muslim Party founder Diaa Mohamed was also picked up during the investigation, charged with fraud offences and cocaine possession.

Manukyan was charged with three counts of drug importation and his case was adjourned to Central Local Court on February 8.


The Chinan with few Peers on doubles court

In the 11 months since John Peers made his Davis Cup debut partnering the briefly unretired Lleyton Hewitt, he has become a husband and expectant father, won the prestigious ATP Finals season-ending title and a first at Masters 1000 level, broke a 16-year drought for local men at the n Open and reached a career-high No.6. While Nick Kyrgios may be this weekend’s headline act at Kooyong, Peers is quietly making news of his own.
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There are few similarities between the pair: one a strife-prone, attention-grabbing singles star and former teen prodigy; the other an understated, late-arriving doubles specialist with a sensible haircut who neither habitually raises eyebrows nor shaves lines into them. The common ground for ‘s 103rd and 106th Davis Cup players comes with both playing in the first-round tie against the Czech Republic at Kooyong.

Kyrgios, as the fixture’s top-ranked singles player at No.15, did his bit on Friday – winning 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 against world No.157 Jan Satral – while Peers is seeking to extend the best stretch of his career at his home club – Kooyong – via Saturday’s doubles with fellow Victorian Sam Groth.

???It has already been a momentous few months for the 28-year-old, with a November wedding to partner Danielle Montgomery, a baby due in May, and now that major win. A third career Davis Cup rubber is next.

“It’s been a really fun last few months and it’s sort of all come with a bit of a rush, which has been good,” said Peers. “We just kept going along and enjoying the ride, so hopefully we can continue that for the rest of this year and for a few more years and just ride the wave for as long as we can.”

The Melbourne Park win, over the famed Bryan brothers, capped his first full season teaming with Finn Henri Kontinen, Peers having parted with Jamie Murray at the end of 2015 after reaching two major finals, but losing both. The third, with Kontinen, was a different, happier story, Perth-based Peers insisting his Saturday night celebration with friends was far more low-key than his satisfaction level.

“A few times I keep pinching myself, and when I actually say that I’m a grand slam champion I get a shiver running down the back of my neck,” Peers said the day after the 7-5, 7-5 eclipse of the Bryans improved to 16-1 the pair’s record since the end of October. “It’s a real honour and I’m sort-of lost for words with what I can say about it.”

It has been an impressive rise for the US college graduate and talented junior cricketer, who first broke into the top 30 in 2013. Davis Cup was a long-held ambition for the son of former pro Elizabeth Little, and brother of former Wimbledon girls’ doubles finalist, Sally, and the Rio Olympian’s representative experiences have been all he had hoped.

“Things have kept building up and building up and it’s been great to be able to get confidence and understanding in how to perform in big matches and just get more experience playing in those situations,” said Peers. “It’s been great to be able to play under Lleyton in Davis Cup. It gives me a lot of confidence to know what he’s done in tennis, to just pass on a few words here or there, just to know that I’m on the right track and just continue to grow and continue to build on my game.

“The squad’s great. It’s a good group of guys and if we can get everyone together, and everyone fit and healthy, I think there’s no reason why we can’t be a dominant force in Davis Cup for many years to come. Especially with the depth of the squad we have got now, and then if we can get Nick and Bernie (Tomic) healthy as well and wanting to play, there’s no reason why we can’t win if not one, several Davis Cup titles, which is exciting stuff for not only but also n tennis as a whole.”

Can he understand Tomic’s unavailability? “If Bernie doesn’t want to play, he’s better off not playing and us putting out a full team that really wants to play,” said a man who wouldn’t be anywhere else. “I actually haven’t seen much of Bernie this summer so I don’t know what’s going on with him. It’s his personal choice. I actually don’t know why.”


EDITORIAL: Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma honours Newcastle with generous donation

AT a business lunch at Newcastle City Hall on Friday, an expert on the future success of cities was telling his audience of the importance that international educational links at the University of Newcastle would play in the region’s future.
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In a world where cities competed forthe best and brightest of human capital, AECOM’s James Rosenwax said overseas collaborations -and the research and development benefits that they brought- wouldplay a vital role in ensuring Newcastle kept pace with the world. It was an apposite moment for such an observation, for unbeknownst to Mr Rosenwax –and indeed to most of his audience –preparations were under way on the other side of King Street for a remarkable occasion a few hours later, when Chinese entrepreneurJack Ma took to the stage, in person, to confirm the creation of a $US20-million sponsorship program to recognise the importance of Newcastle’s role in his extraordinary life story.

As is becoming well known, Mr Ma has been friends with a Newcastle family, the Morleys, since he was a boy, and he credits their bringing him to Newcastle in 1985 for opening his eyes to the world.

“The culture, the landscape and most importantly its people had a profound positive impact on my view of the world at that time,” Mr Ma said on Friday.

“To honour the experience and the special relationship I formed with the Morley family, the Jack Ma Foundation is delighted to announce the Ma andMorley Scholarship Program that will inspire, educate and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders.”

Mr Ma’s association with Newcastle –which he called his second home town – can only help to spread the city’s message overseas.

International students have long played a major role in the campus life of Newcastle university and under Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen, the institution has taken conscious steps to lift its international profile, and to broaden its academic base by employing staff from around the world.

But Newcastle is a regional city, servicing a broad regional base, soit is pleasing to see that the Ma and Morley scholarship will help scholars from less advantaged backgrounds. The Alibaba Group founder was himself from a humble background, and Newcastle, it seems, gave him an opportunity. Now, he is passing that opportunity on to others.

And for that, we thank him.

ISSUE: 38,458


The real reason many poor Jakartans are opposing Ahok in the gubernatorial election

Residents say they were evicted despite a “political contract” with Governor Ahok. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah Some residents of Kampung Akuarium, in North Jakarta, refused to leave when evicted in April. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah
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Dharma Diani, resident of Kampung Aquarium, North Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

Residents have been living in tents and shelters donated by opposition parties. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

A Kampung Akuarium residents walks through mountains of rubbish and rubble in the makeshift neighbourhood. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

A resident at Kampung Akuarium. Photo: Irwin Fedriansyah

Jakarta: We are being taken on a tour that Dharma Diani grimly calls “rubble tourism”.

This is her home, but the landscape she shows us looks more like a war zone than a peaceful kampung (neighbourhood) of poor fishermen in North Jakarta. Somehow people are still living amid the piles of debris; there are tents and patchwork shanties cobbled together with plywood and advertising tarpaulins.

This is Kampung Akuarium, ground zero in Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s aggressive campaign of forced evictions to tackle endemic problems in the city such as flooding, traffic congestion and lack of green space.

The people of Kampung Akuarium were given an eviction notice 11 days before their homes were bulldozed in April last year.

“We were never told why but Ahok was quoted in the media saying he wanted to turn the area into a religious tourism destination because an old mosque is nearby,” Dharma says.

“He wanted a big square where people can meet in restaurants. Ahok keeps saying he wants to revitalise the old city but nothing has happened since the eviction.”

Dharma, who makes a living selling gas canisters, is among 70 families who have refused to budge. Her house was flattened but she managed to save some of her belongings and erect a makeshift shack.

“It leaks of course and if the wind is too strong, the roof is gone. The roof in our temporary mosque has gone too.”

But Dharma says it is not an option to relocate to low-cost rental apartments provided by the government 25 kilometres away. “Some of us are fishermen or work at the fish market. If you move us somewhere four hours away in heavy traffic, how can we work? How can we pay?”

Dharma’s eyes well with tears as she talks to us in a crude shelter – the community’s “crisis centre” – which has a banner proclaiming “my kampung is my life”. “Ahok labelled us as illegal squatters and says we just occupied empty land and spread tuberculosis. We tried to meet him but he didn’t want to receive us. He is too much. He is cruel. For us a leader is not like that.”

The irony is that almost all of the residents of Kampung Akuarium, including Dharma, supported Ahok when he successfully ran in the gubernatorial elections in 2012 as Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s deputy.

Jokowi, now the president, visited Kampung Akuarium three times during the campaign. Dharma says he made a political contract to end evictions and give land certificates to those who had lived in the kampung for more than 20 years.

The sense of betrayal is deep.

“Ninety-five per cent of the people from the kampung voted for them. It didn’t matter to us Ahok was Christian and Chinese, we never cared about race and religion. Now we have this problem because of Ahok himself. He is a troublemaker.”

Asked if there is anyone left in the kampung who would vote for Ahok in the February 15 gubernatorial election, Dharma shakes her head bitterly. “Null per cent. It’s common sense. He makes the poor become poorer. This has made a lot of people more political, including me.”

The former red-light district of Kalijodo was virtually razed overnight last February after Ahok decided he wanted to clean up the so-called den of vice and turn it into a park.

In September hundreds of families were evicted from Bukit Duri, as part of a plan to mitigate flooding by widening the Ciliwung river, despite legal proceedings being before court.

Several months later the State Administrative Court ruled their eviction had violated the law.

Murdoch University Research fellow Ian Wilson gets frustrated when so much of the commentary around the sometimes vitriolic campaign against Ahok, who is on trial for allegedly insulting Islam, centres on concerns over growing religious and racial intolerance and radicalism in Indonesia.

“This ignores the fact there are solid material grievances,” he tells Fairfax Media.

Wilson visited Kampung Akuarium soon after the homes were bulldozed. He says the people were shell-shocked. One fisherman, who had been out of mobile range because he was fishing around Kalimantan in Borneo, came back to discover his home had gone.

“When I first went out there, people had signs of post-traumatic shock disorder and real psychological damage because of what had been done to them. This neighbourhood was fully supportive of Jokowi and Ahok. You can’t explain [the opposition to Ahok] by saying they are sectarian or racist against the Chinese – it is simply not the case. It happened as a direct outcome of the impact of policies.”

The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute estimates that more than 16,000 families have been displaced in the last two years alone. Hafid Abbas from the National Commission for Human Rights says forced evictions violate human rights: “The poor has likely no space to live safely in Jakarta.”

Hafid warns that in order to prevent social unrest in Jakarta the Jokowi administration should stop forced evictions for unjust reasons such as development of land by companies.

Visit Kampung Akuarium and you will be left in no doubt for whom its remaining residents will vote. Everywhere you look are banners for Ahok’s rival Anies Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Uno. The ticket, which is endorsed by government opposition party Gerindra and the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party, has vowed it will not carry out evictions.

A Gerindra flag flutters from the ruins. Dharma says Gerindra distributed tents, food and medication to the displaced people.

“A lot suffered flu because their homes are now open to the elements and skin problems because it is dusty,” she says. “Of course we are sympathetic to Gerindra because they give us things. It’s not because they want our votes, it’s not because of politics because there are not many of us left here.”

Wilson, who is researching how evicted neighbourhoods are engaging with the upcoming election,  says political opportunists – including the hardline Islam Defenders Front (FPI) – have capitalised on this disenchantment.

“The FPI, for all its faults, will often be there to provide logistical support during evictions or natural disasters,” Wilson says. “People have a genuine affection for the group because of that. Most of the FPI members come from kampungs originally, so [people] relate to them more than middle-class intellectuals. Many kampung members have become bona fide FPI supporters over the past few months, taking part in the [anti-Ahok] demonstrations.”

Dharma says the FPI were at Kampung Akuarium on eviction day handing out food and mattresses. The eviction occurred months before Ahok became embroiled in controversy for allegedly insulting Islam. “They always help people in a situation like this,” Dharma says.

She agrees Ahok’s policies may have driven people into the arms of other political organisations.  “Maybe it’s just like food,” she says. “We know certain food doesn’t taste good and another food looks attractive.”

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